Hot Weather Solutions

This article is for those who must work in hot climates with high humidity and have to deal with the discomfort of chafing.

Having lived in five of the hottest cities in the USA and working in the others on the Top Ten List, I am used to working in hot weather. And, I really dislike cold weather. Have you ever noticed that when it is freezing and you go inside to a warm room with a roaring fireplace it takes forever to stop the shivering, but when you are hot and you go into an air-conditioned room, you feel instantly cool? Yes, I like instant gratification when it comes to weather!

In June of this year, I was contracted to consult with a large shop in southeastern Tamil Nadu, India, where the temperature in June is at its highest of the year 98˚F (37˚C) I thought it would be great to escape the 109˚F (43˚C) of Austin, Texas. It didn’t turn out as I expected, because the city was having record high temperatures of 106˚F (41˚C), and the shop was not only situated on the Bay of Bengal, but the humidity hovered around 70% relative humidity for the entire month. This provided a heat index much higher than Austin! At the end of my first day, I went shopping for cooler clothing and a thermometer to determine the temperature in the shop.

The next day, during tea time, the managers asked how I was dealing with the heat and soon they were asking about chaffing problems and what people in Texas do to resolve the issue.

I explained that chaffing is caused by rough fabrics rubbing against the skin. However, it is intensified by sweat and salt, especially in the summer months. So, the best method is to keep the areas where chaffing occurs clean and free of sweat and salt. Not so easily done when you live on the Bay of Bengal in a hot climate.

Next, I suggested that they wear loose-fitting clothes with a smooth finish, and to look for anti-chaffing products, such as Aquaphor, Body Glide, Tri Slide, and 2Toms SportsShield, all of which were popular in Texas and especially among athletes. For a home remedy, I suggest that they clean the area often with soap and water and then after drying thoroughly apply Vaseline to the area. And if possible do this at least twice a day.

As the shop consisted of several factories performing everything from spinning yarn from cotton, weaving, cut-and-sew, and screenprinting, there were more women than men working in the factories. Of the 1200 employees per shift, the women made up for approximately 65% of the total. While India is a very conservative country, many women working in factories do not wear bras, due to the heat.


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